Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Ryuichi Sakamoto has throat cancer

Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with throat cancer

Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with throat cancer and has cancelled his upcoming performances to focus on his health.

The Japanese musician and composer apologised for bowing out of his upcoming events, saying he would not be able to attend the First Sapporo International Art Festival, which starts later this month.

He said he was also "deeply upset" at having to cancel a July 30 concert for the Park Hyatt Tokyo's 20th anniversary, where he had planned to unveil new material.

"I promise to return after a full recovery," Sakamoto, 62, said on his official website.

"At the end of June, I was diagnosed with throat cancer," he said. "I have decided to take time off of work in order to concentrate on treating it. I deeply regret causing so many people considerable inconvenience."

Hideaki Tamamushi, spokesman at Avex Group, which manages Sakamoto, said that in early June the musician went for a check-up after feeling a strange sensation in his throat, and the diagnosis came toward the end of the month. He said the company has been deluged with calls asking about Sakamoto. Tamamushi declined to release further details about his condition.

Sakamoto's daughter and musician Miu Sakamoto said on her Twitter account that her father was going to stay in the US for a while, where he is based.

"I would like my father to take a good rest after working so hard all the time. I hope he will recover completely and return to playing his great music with all his heart," she tweeted.

Sakamoto, born in Tokyo, rose to fame as a member of the electronic pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra in the 1970s and 1980s, before starring in the 1983 prisoner of war film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, for which he also wrote the soundtrack. He shared an Oscar for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor score in 1987, and won a Golden Globe for his work on The Sheltering Sky in 1990.

He has been based in New York in recent years, although he visits Japan often.

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